‘Ka Hā ‘ō Ka ‘Āina“The life breath of the land”
The garden, The purpose
‘KA HĀ ‘Ō KA ‘ĀINA, the Life Breath of the land.
The name of our organization represents the connection Hawai’ian plants have to the land they have flourished on for thousands of years. Native Hawai’ian plants arrived on the islands by natural means such as wind, birds and ocean currents. ‘Ka Hā ‘Ō Ka ‘Āina’s goal is to help perpetuate Hawai’ian plants through seed retention, propagation and education.
Due to development, human intervention, and climate change, the state of Hawai’i has been given the title of being the “extinction capital of the world”. By cultivating these rare Hawai’ian plants, we can keep seed and tissue for future needs. We also believe it is important to educate young people in Hawai’i about the plants, as the stories of the native plants and native peoples of Hawai’i are inexorably intertwined.
The purpose of conservation is to pass on unimpaired resources so that those who come after us may continue to use and enjoy them. Hawai’i is the most remote land mass on Earth. We are continuing to deal with the worst crisis of species extinction in human history. Grim statistics speak volumes about how much we have already lost. The International Union for Conservation of Nature conducted an analysis of 415 of the 1093 endemic plants of Hawai’i for “red listing” as critically endangered. Out of the 415 plants surveyed, 87% face extinction. We believe that such dramatic loss requires immediate action. This includes seed retention, natural propagation, and education. ‘Ka Hā ‘Ō Ka ‘Āina, Inc. is committed to lessening the extinction rate of native Hawai’ian plants. Education and collaboration with those interested in Hawai’ian plants provides support through science and creative cultural expertise. Federal and State agencies’ publications provide technical information and universities provide biological education and identification of plants.
Number of Hawaiian plant taxa listed as Endangered or Threatened by Federal and State governments
number of Hawaiian plants with 50 or fewer individuals remaining in the wild.
We strongly believe that positive change only comes through collaboration with community members. One of our goals is to work with conservation partners who maintain a shared interest. The non-profit has had two island wide public luaus. These luaus were community centered around food and hands on education. We attend a yearly plant sale where we sell plants to help fund our operation and build lasting bonds with members of the local community. Donations of rare and endemic plants to organizations and parks has been taking place for over a decade. We have worked with schools to increase awareness of native Hawai’ian plants. Endemic/endangered plants have been donated to botanists and other experts throughout the islands to provide for diversity of growing conditions. In Hawai’ian culture, the kinolau concept speaks of the living plants and animals and that they may be a physical manifestation of a God and thus held to be sacred. Humans are the youngest siblings in the strand of creation.